Should you mix and match sofas? Design experts reveal the controversial answer and their styling tips

Eclectic decor is in - but here's how to make mismatched sofas work

Living room with sage green sofa
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Whether your sofas should match is a highly contested topic on the Ideal Home desk and our verdict is that the days of buying a matching sofa set might be behind us... 

With the rise of mismatched, eccentric interiors and not to mention smaller decorating budgets that mean purchasing not only the best sofa, but the entire sofa set in one go often isn't doable. So sofas in different colours and materials are certainly in. 

Sofas in contrasting patterns or textures are a simple way to create an eye-catching scheme - but choosing two or more that still look good together isn't so easy. Following these design tips will help you plan a living room scheme with mismatched sofas that look perfectly imperfect. 

Should you mix and match sofas?

Living room with sage green sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mary Wadsworth)

The verdict on whether sofas should match is in fact - no! Well, if you're a fan of a coordinated look and want your living room decor to look pared-back, a matching sofa and armchair set might work for you. But the important takeaway is that it doesn't have to match. 

'If you've got a relatively small living room, I would always say avoid matching because too much of the same upholstery can look heavy and full,' recommends Kelly Collins, head of creative at Swyft. 'If you have a large living room, the sofas can match, but you should include mismatched armchairs and ottomans to create balance.'  

Colourful interiors are rising in popularity, largely thanks to the dopamine decor trend which encourages us to choose happy colours for our living rooms to make an everyday space that little bit more uplifting. So why not maximise happiness and choose sofas in contrasting colours and patterns? 

Kelly adds that there are some rules to make choosing simpler. 'With dopamine dressing, you can have two quite relatively bright colours together, and they don't have to match,' she says, 'but generally, if the sofa is neutral, then add colour and interest to the room by adding armchairs or ottomans that stand out.' 

What colours work well with mismatched sofas?

Living room with mustard yellow sofa an leather armchair

(Image credit: Future PLC)

So you've decided to make a statement with mismatched sofas, but which colours work well together? Besides going for shades that make your heart sing or adhere to a certain living room trend, there is some science behind which colours complement one another. 

'The colours need to be the same tone or palette – warm colours go together and the same for cold colours. When I say warm colours, I mean, it could be a warm cream sofa, paprika, henna, or harissa,' Kelly advises. 

'If you want to go cold, it could be a marine-coloured sofa, a colder blue or grey. In short, if you're not matching, they need to be in the same tonal warmth palette.' 

She continues, 'When you're looking at textures, really mismatch so it's not too similar. Go with a velvet and a linen, a linen and a boucle, or a chenille and linen.'

Should your cushions match?

Mustard sofa with mismatched cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC)

'Contrasting colours should be welcomed into our homes, reinventing our living spaces to reflect our personalities and mood,' comments Tricia Guild, OBE, founder and creative director of Designers Guild.

Sofas are a fantastic opportunity to make a statement and dictate the overall look of your living room. But if you're not quite ready to commit, or you're unsure how to style a mismatched look, you might be wondering which cushions to choose.

Cushions are the final touch and essential to ensuring you can kick back and lounge to your heart's content.  'The trend used to be symmetrical with the same cushion on each side of the sofa. But cushions no longer need to match, have fun with them and bring in different colours,' Kelly advises. 

Tricia adds that 'The use of contrasting colours can still be maximised with accessories such as a bold throw or a patterned cushion. This allows you to energise the room, without the commitment of changing your furniture. Again, this is a simple step that will add scale to your living room.' 

Our favourite buys

Flexibility with choosing the exact colour combination that works for your sofas and home is essential, which is why we're handpicked a couple of our favourite styles that have an abundance of colours and materials for customisation. 

Which mismatched combo will you be choosing?

Holly Cockburn
Content Editor

After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).